Objective and Subjective tests


There are two general types of assessment that tests are designed for:

1. Objective tests aim to assess a specific part of the learner’s knowledge using questions which have a single correct answer.

2. Subjective tests aim to assess areas of students’ performance that are complex and qualitative, using questioning which may have more than one correct answer (or more than one way of expressing the correct answer).

The “washback” (or “backwash”) effect

“Washback” is the effect that testing has on the teaching and learning processes.

• It can be either positive or negative.

• The validity of the testing process can influence the content of our courses, and the way we teach, in a direction that is either with or against the better judgment of the administrators, teachers, students, and parents.

From the point of view of testing, the washback effect becomes negative when there is a mismatch between what we the material / abilities we teach, and what is tested. For example, an achievement test that is only multiple choice has a negative washback effect on any attempt to teach productive skills such as speaking and writing in class.

On the other hand, if the achievement test includes both spoken and written parts, the washback effect has a positive influence on students (and teachers) attitudes to practicing productive skills in the classroom.


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